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Quinoa - New Jfood Favorite

jfood Jul 8, 2008 04:48 PM

Jfood knows that many of you will view this as a big ho-hum, but jfood tried a quinoa salad from his produce store and thought it was fantastic. Following week served to some guests and they all licked their plates. Then major disappointment. The chef at the grocer moved onto bulghur (also very good). So jfood decided to buy some uncooked quinoa, look for some recipes and make some.

This was his first attempt and this the recipe he used


Major fantastic. He did substitute red for green peppers and lightened up on the oil a bit, plus he grilled the corn. Really good stuf with just a little kick from the Jalepeno.

So are there other favorites from the CH posters for recipes.


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  1. MMRuth RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 04:55 PM

    Quinoa is wonderful - I've just been rediscovering it since Flexitarian was COTM and I loaded up on it. Tonight we had phyllo wrapped sauteed quinoa with lamb and various herbs, mushrooms etc. Will post more about it.

    There are lots of ideas here;


    The one I made from Flexitarian:


    I did buy some red quinoa, but haven't used it yet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth
      greedygirl RE: MMRuth Jul 9, 2008 03:39 AM

      Quinoa wrapped in filo - sounds intriguing.

      1. re: greedygirl
        MMRuth RE: greedygirl Jul 9, 2008 06:41 AM

        Here's my write up:


    2. goodhealthgourmet RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 05:01 PM

      that's a classic quinoa salad. yum.

      welcome to the wonderful world of quinoa! it's one of my favorite foods. i know we've had many discussions about it, so you might want to do a board search.

      in the meantime, here's one of my favorites. sorry there aren't any proportions, but it's one of those instinctual dishes i just do by sight & taste...

      fold into cooked quinoa: toasted pine nuts, chopped dried apricots, currants, sliced green onions, chopped fresh mint & parsley. season to taste with S&P, and toss with just enough minted yogurt dressing to moisten...

      minted citrus yogurt dressing:

      1 cup plain, nonfat greek yogurt [or regular nonfat yogurt drained for at least 4-6 hours]
      1 tbsp agave nectar [or honey]
      1 tsp fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice
      2 tbsp fresh, mint finely chopped

      combine all ingredients thoroughly, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

      btw, seeing as it's apricot season, i might actually use fresh ones instead of dried right now...and fresh figs could be another option.

      2 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        TongoRad RE: goodhealthgourmet Jul 9, 2008 10:24 AM

        I do one with mint as well, but a little spicy. It's got onion, white raisins and pine nuts, chopped mint of course, and a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil with a squirt of harissa and some toasted caraway seeds. Simple and delish.

        1. re: TongoRad
          goodhealthgourmet RE: TongoRad Jul 9, 2008 12:24 PM

          sounds great. there's just something about fresh mint in the summertime - i can't get enough of it!

      2. z
        ziggylu RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 05:07 PM

        My husband loves it cooked in coconut milk.

        1. pikawicca RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 05:07 PM

          Just chop up or cook, whatever veg is available from the market. Toss it with the cooked quinoa and your favorite vinaigrette. This is on our menu once a week. I always throw in sun-dried tomatoes and chopped olives. Beyond that, anything goes.

          1. Passadumkeg RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 05:18 PM

            google Bolivian foods; a national grain.

            1. m
              Missyme RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 07:30 PM

              Jfood is getting very daring, what with home-made hummus, and now quinoa!

              Try this one from Epicurious; everyone salivates every time I make it:


              3 Replies
              1. re: Missyme
                jfood RE: Missyme Jul 9, 2008 03:52 AM

                that was the other finalist but sugar and butter seemed out of place with a helthy dish.

                1. re: jfood
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 12:22 PM

                  j, you all know i'm a complete health freak, and even i wouldn't have a real issue with that recipe ;) cut back on the butter, but leave the sugar - there's one one teeny teaspoon [for a whopping 4 calories per serving] in the entire recipe!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    jfood RE: goodhealthgourmet Jul 9, 2008 12:31 PM

                    thanks ghg, but not the calories. the jfoods are careful about sugars at dinner time. it seems it causes some pretty deep naps around 830. likewise with commercial pasta. mrs jfood has nicknamed them pasta-comas but they understand it the glyc-spike.

              2. ipsedixit RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 10:16 PM

                I add quinoa to vegetable soups and minestrone to make them more hearty.

                I'll even add it to corn chowder to give the soup a higher nutritional profile.

                7 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit
                  oakjoan RE: ipsedixit Jul 8, 2008 10:43 PM

                  I've made this salad twice for guests now and it got rave reviews.

                  The salad is Ottolenghi Red Rice and Quinoa Salad recipe. I searched for the name and found it online. Ottolenghi is a new star take-out chef in London and the salad is terrific.

                  It has red rice, quinoa, onion, olive oil, zest and juice of orange, lemon juice, garlic, green onions, chopped dried apricots and arugula. It's pretty easy and quite delicious. Also tastes great for a couple of days after it's made.

                  1. re: oakjoan
                    greedygirl RE: oakjoan Jul 9, 2008 03:37 AM

                    I've earmarked that one to try as well, as soon as I get me some red rice. Did you succumb to the book yet. ;-)

                    1. re: oakjoan
                      jfood RE: oakjoan Jul 9, 2008 03:58 AM

                      looks great. here is the link for others


                      1. re: jfood
                        greedygirl RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 05:12 AM

                        I can't recommend the book highly enough - it's just fabulous.

                        1. re: jfood
                          HillJ RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 07:27 AM


                          If you give this recipe a try, don't sub the red rice. Good source, at a great price above.

                        2. re: oakjoan
                          newfoodie RE: oakjoan Jul 9, 2008 12:43 PM

                          Oakjoan, did you have any trouble finding red rice?

                          I also wanted to recommend the Warm and Nutty Quinoa recipe on 101cookbooks.com. Very satisfying and unique way of preparing quinoa.


                        3. re: ipsedixit
                          maplesugar RE: ipsedixit Jul 10, 2008 09:53 AM

                          How much quinoa would you say you add to your corn chowder? I'd love to do something to make mine more nutritious.

                          TIA :)

                        4. markemorse RE: jfood Jul 8, 2008 11:17 PM

                          Add to cooked quinoa: ketjap manis and a little butter. This is the emergency food around our house.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: markemorse
                            MMRuth RE: markemorse Jul 9, 2008 03:47 AM

                            When I made the quinoa for another recipe over the weekend, I tossed some with chives and olive oil and had it for lunch.

                          2. nofunlatte RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 06:45 AM

                            I love quinoa! That it's quick-ccoking also helps. I make a baked quinoa dish that has been very well received by guests. Sprinkled with cheese on top (and letting the cheese melt) can turn this into a vegetarian main dish.

                            VEGETABLE QUINOA BAKE

                            1 Tbs canola oil
                            1 med onion, chopped
                            8-10 mushrooms, sliced
                            1 lg bell pepper, diced
                            1 jalapeno pepper, minced
                            1 sm zucchini, diced
                            2 cloves garlic, minced
                            3 cups water
                            1-1/2 cups quinoa
                            2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
                            1 cup chopped kale
                            2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
                            ½ tsp salt
                            ½ tsp pepper

                            Preheat oven to 400 deg. In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and garlic. Saute about 5-7 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to boil.

                            Transfer mixture to 9- by 13-inch pan and cover. Bake until liquid is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and fluff with fork. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

                            1. h
                              HillJ RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 07:23 AM

                              If you enjoy stuffed peppers, quinoa is an interesting substitute for rice.

                              1. a
                                anzu RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 10:11 AM

                                I've made a tuna salad with tuna (packed in olive oil), sun-dried tomatoes, cannelini beans, kalamatta olives and tarragon (I like tarragon for this, but if it's not readily available, basil or another strong herb will work just fine), dressed it with olive oil and some of the liquid from the sun-dried tomatoes (or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, if you have the canned kind) and lemon. I do this salad either plain or mix in quinoa. Either way, it's one of my favorite "quick" salads.

                                Then if you have leftover tarragon, I like making a pesto with it (parsley, nuts, tarragon, gruyere or parmesan cheese and olive oil), and making a grilled cheese sandwich with that, gruyere cheese and pear slices (a recipe from Sunset).

                                1. a
                                  anzu RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 10:13 AM

                                  Btw, did you steam the quinoa as the recipe says? I've never tried steaming it, so maybe I'll try that. The recipe says the steaming makes it fluffy.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: anzu
                                    MMRuth RE: anzu Jul 9, 2008 10:15 AM

                                    BTW - in the recipe I have, it calls for "steaming" but it's really just cooking the way one does rice traditionally. Other recipes in the book I used call for cooking it like pasta. How do you usually cook it?

                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                      goodhealthgourmet RE: MMRuth Jul 9, 2008 12:40 PM

                                      the "standard" method is to simmer, but it can get a little gummy/dense that way sometimes. if you're up for it, try steaming it sometime instead - there really is a difference. much lighter & fluffier.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        MMRuth RE: goodhealthgourmet Jul 9, 2008 01:51 PM

                                        Would you describe the steaming method in more detail, please?

                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                          WendyBinCT RE: MMRuth Jul 9, 2008 04:45 PM

                                          For steaming quinoa, you need a fine-meshed strainer with a metal frame.
                                          Measure the quinoa and place it in the strainer.
                                          Set the strainer over a large bowl and run cold water over the grains, swirling them with impeccably clean fingers, or a spoon or spatula, until the bowl is full.
                                          Lift strainer, discard the cloudy water, repeat (3 to 5 changes of water) until water is mostly clear. (This rinsing is necessary to remove saponin, a soapy coating on the grains.)
                                          In a saucepan, bring two cups of water or stock to a boil for every cup of quinoa. Add quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
                                          Drain quinoa back into the sieve. Place quinoa in its sieve over a saucepan (perhaps the same one) with at least an inch of boiling water. The quinoa and sieve should not touch the water. Cover the sieve with a towel, and cover the towel with a lid -- don't worry if the fit is not exact. Steam for 10 minutes.
                                          Spread quinoa on a large tray to cool.
                                          Steaming produces a light, fluffy texture ideal for a salad.

                                          1. re: WendyBinCT
                                            goodhealthgourmet RE: WendyBinCT Jul 9, 2008 05:14 PM

                                            wendy - thanks for posting, you beat me to it.

                                            it's more time-consuming than just simmering, but the results are worth the extra effort.

                                            1. re: WendyBinCT
                                              itryalot RE: WendyBinCT Jul 13, 2008 05:58 AM

                                              Extremely informative; I will try this method next time.

                                        2. re: MMRuth
                                          anzu RE: MMRuth Jul 9, 2008 02:14 PM

                                          I usually cook it like pasta (except I don't drain the water). I should try this steaming thing sometime, then.

                                        3. re: anzu
                                          jfood RE: anzu Jul 9, 2008 10:34 AM

                                          jfood followed the direction on the package which was simmer for 12 minutes. came out great.

                                        4. WendyBinCT RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 01:47 PM

                                          Jfood, nice to hear you're having fun with a new ingredient. That salad sounds heavenly! Some optional additions for your next round:
                                          4 to 6 scallions, sliced OR 1/2 red onion, diced
                                          1/2 ripe mango, peeled and diced
                                          4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
                                          Harissa to taste

                                          DH and I had quinoa for the first time visiting friends in Miami, and came home with two boxes of Ancient Harvest Inca Red grains, very pretty mixed half-and-half with the more widely available buff-colored version. Ordering info and lots of recipes here:

                                          The following Martha Stewart recipe is easy and delicious:

                                          1. n
                                            normalheightsfoodie RE: jfood Jul 9, 2008 05:21 PM

                                            Jfood, I hope you sent the chef at the grocer a thank you note, and perhaps a host gift as well. LOL

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                                              jfood RE: normalheightsfoodie Jul 9, 2008 05:44 PM

                                              nope, he's out at the pool swimming laps and jfood is busy making a couple of 2" T-Bones, some vintage wine and a flourless chocolate cake with creme anglais. can't treat the people that change your life too nicely.

                                              1. re: jfood
                                                Passadumkeg RE: jfood Jul 10, 2008 02:16 AM

                                                I hope you search for some traditional Bolivian or Peruvian recipes. The Andes is quinoa's home and a very important protein source for the indiginous peoples.

                                            2. p
                                              phantomdoc RE: jfood Jul 10, 2008 02:57 AM

                                              I soak the Quinoa in water overnight or sometimes leave it to sprout (increases nutrients). Then pan toast before boiling. I like to make a 50/50 mix with pan toasted kasha (buckwheat) . It balances the heavy / light contrast and probably increases the protein availability via amino acid combination. I cook onions in the water and season with tamari and oil. Quite yummy.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: phantomdoc
                                                anzu RE: phantomdoc Jul 10, 2008 11:15 AM

                                                phantom, how do you sprout the quinoa? That sounds like it would increase its nutty flavor. Do you just leave it in water?

                                                1. re: phantomdoc
                                                  BeaN RE: phantomdoc Aug 16, 2008 03:58 PM

                                                  yes, yes, phantomdoc, inquiring minds want to know! Tell us about sprouting the quinoa! That sounds SOOO good!

                                                  And thank you, jfood, for this most yummy thread!


                                                2. BiscuitBoy RE: jfood Jul 10, 2008 06:33 AM

                                                  So jfood...(or should I phrase it) Tell jfood I tried making the quinoa recipe in your post and it is delicious. Since this was my first foray with quinoa, I had used every bowl in the house, what with the rinsing, mixing, somewhere to place the sieve, and steaming. Did jfood find this an issue too, or did BiscuitBoy work inefficiently?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: BiscuitBoy
                                                    jfood RE: BiscuitBoy Jul 10, 2008 10:01 AM

                                                    Oh yeah, that should have been posted, sorry BB. Thankfully jfood has plenty of bowls and plenty of space.

                                                    Bowl 1 - The beans with vinegar
                                                    Bowl 2 - The veggies
                                                    Bowl 3 - The quinoa cooling off (jfood placed in the fridge to speed things up)
                                                    1 Pot for simmering the quinoa

                                                    Good news is that he thought he was going to need the cleaner bowl for the quinoa plus two pots, as well, one for the simmer and then the other for the dumpee pot for the liquid and then the steam the Q. But his was pre-rinced, thankfully. He strained in the same sieve in the beginning as drained at the end.

                                                    Glad you like it, jfood was looking on line to buy more, reasonably priced quinoa if his produce store does not sell in bulk.

                                                  2. optimal forager RE: jfood Jul 11, 2008 05:42 PM

                                                    This is the recipe that introduced me to quinoa. I've been making it for months, and it's still one of the family's favorites. I've posted it a couple of times already, I'm such a fan.

                                                    Quinoa-beef picadillo (paraphrased from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day Every Way).

                                                    1 TBS olive oil
                                                    1 lg onion, diced
                                                    1 lg green pepper, diced
                                                    2 TSP minced garlic
                                                    1 TSP cumin seeds
                                                    1 lb lean ground beef
                                                    1/2 TSP salt
                                                    1 TSP dried oregano
                                                    1/2 TSP chili powder
                                                    1/8 TSP ground cinnamon
                                                    1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with liquid
                                                    1/2 c. pimiento-stuffed olives, cut across into thirds
                                                    1/4 c. raisins
                                                    2 TBS drained capers
                                                    3 c. cooked quinoa
                                                    Fresh ground pepper, to tast
                                                    Lime wedges, for serving

                                                    Heat oil in large, deep skillet over high heat. Add onion and pepper, cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cumin, and cook 1 more minute. Add beef and salt, breaking the meat up into bits. Cook until beef is brown and crumbly, 3 or 4 minutes. Pour off any fat.

                                                    Add oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, tomatoes, olives, raisins and capers, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for about 15 minutes. Add quinoa, then check seasoning and add pepper. Serve with lime wedges.

                                                    Quinoa (boil and drain like pasta): rinse 1 cup of quinoa until water runs clear. Bring about 10 c. water to a boil over medium high heat. Add quinoa. Boil uncovered for 11-14 min., until there no white dot of starch visible at the center of the grain and some of the comma-shaped filaments are released from the individual grains. Drain, let sit in strainer for about 5 minutes, then fluff up.

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